The residents of Gujarat are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and in recent times, films like KAI PO CHE , MITRON  etc were partly based on this aspect. Now debutant director Mikhil Musale takes this one step ahead with his Diwali release, MADE IN CHINA, which incidentally also stars KAI PO CHE actor Rajkummar Rao as the protagonist along with many other talented names. So does MADE IN CHINA manage to give the audiences a great time? Or does it fail in its endeavour? Let’s analyse.
MADE IN CHINA is the story of a man who beats all odds to become an expert businessman. Raghu Mehta (Rajkummar Rao) is based in Ahmedabad and is a failed businessman. He has tried his hands in various kinds of businesses but the effort has been futile each time. He then accepted his deceased father’s advice and began to run his family-owned clothes shop. Even here, he tries to experiment and stocks Nepali mattresses but nobody is interested to buy it. Raghu is married to Rukmini (Mouni Roy) who is understanding and supports him through thick and thin. But Raghu’s father-in-law Vitthal (Manoj Joshi) and Devraj (Sumeet Vyas) don’t appreciate Raghu’s attempts. They advise him to sell his shop at a good price and also to go to China and help Devraj set up his venture of providing a herbal soft drink. Raghu reluctantly takes up the China offer where sadly, the deal with Tanmay Shah (Paresh Rawal) fails to materialize. However, Raghu befriends a local colleague there, Xui Lee (Danni Wang). She introduces him to Hou Lee (Jeffrey Ho) who claims to have made an effective aphrodisiac called Magic Soup that too from the reproductive organs of tiger. Hou Lee insists Raghu to sell it in India and make millions for both. Raghu returns to India, impressed with the idea, and he decides to do ground research. He meets several sex doctors, tantric babas etc and realizes that most of them are only interested to financially exploit the desperate people struggling with sexual problems. Raghu then comes across Dr Tribhuvan Vardhi (Boman Irani) who is honest and not money-minded. Immediately, Raghu insists that Dr Vardhi should sell Magic Soup to his patients and in return, he’ll get 50% share in profit. Dr Vardhi refuses at first but after much cajoling, he accepts the offer. On the advise of Tanmay Shah, Raghu turns Dr Vardhi into an online sensation which in turn helps in the sales of Magic Soup. All is going well until one day, a high-profile Chinese national, General Zeng (Dawei Yu), consumes Magic Soup and passes away in a few minutes. Consequently, Raghu and Dr Vardhi are caught by the police. Considering the gravity of the situation, the government dispatches two CBI agents, Gupta (Chitranjan Tripathi) and Sharma (Abhishek Banerjee) to investigate. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Mikhil Musale, Karan Vyas and Parinda Joshi's story is juvenile and unconvincing. There are far too many characters and justice is not done to many of them. Mikhil Musale, Karan Vyas and Parinda Joshi's screenplay (with additional screenplay by Niren Bhatt) is a bigger culprit. The poor storyline could have been still made for a slighter better film. But that doesn’t happen as the film lacks drama, tension and even sufficient humour. Niren Bhatt and Karan Vyas's dialogues could have been much better worded and unique. For instance, the way Dr Vardhi’s speech goes viral seems difficult to digest as he didn’t say anything that’s not been said before.
Mikhil Musale's direction is weak. He knows the shot taking techniques but storytelling wise, his approach is flawed. There are too many jumps in the timeline. The entire China trip episode is bewildering as viewers never get to know where Devraj disappeared and when and how did Raghu return to India. The film, moreover, begins as a murder mystery, but this bit is kept unexplained till the very end. On the positive side, a few scenes are entertaining like Raghu roaming around with Xui Lee, the scenes of Tanmay Shah and the scene in the library involving Raghu and Dr Vardhi.
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MADE IN CHINA begins on a high note and the murder is shown at the very onset. One expects the narrative to get better as the film goes on a flashback mode. But nothing of that sort happens. The first half is dry and story-wise, nothing much happens. The interval arrives all of a sudden. In the second half, there’s some movement in the story as Raghu finally rises to the top. But even here, the scattered and disjointed plot spoils things. The track of Akash Chopra (Gajraj Rao) seems forced and doesn’t add much, especially his last scene. The finale is convenient and the film ends, leaving a lot of questions unanswered.
Talking of performances, Rajkummar Rao tries to put up a genuinely good show but the end result is not that impressive. The scene where he really stands out is when he shows Rukmini’s picture to Xui Lee in China. Mouni Roy looks sizzling but is decent at best. Boman Irani is far better and he’s actually the best performer in the film. He especially does very well in the twin monologues in the second half. Gajraj Rao is wasted. Paresh Rawal entertains. Manoj Joshi and Sumeet Vyas put up a good show. Danni Wang is sweet. Jeffrey Ho is over the top but it works for his character. Chitranjan Tripathi and Abhishek Banerjee fail to entice. Sanjay Goradia (Natukaka) raises laughs in the beginning. Dawei Yu is hardly there. Amyra Dastur (Roopa) gets no scope.
Sachin-Jigar's music doesn’t have recall value. 'Odhani' is used for a less than a minute in the film and plays in the end credits. 'Sanedo' is foot-tapping. 'Valam' is well shot. 'Naari Naari' is not there in the film. Sachin-Jigar's background score is far better and the Chinese feel is brought alive well.
Anuj Rakesh Dhawan's cinematography is neat. Sheetal Sharma's costumes are straight out life while those of Mouni Roy are appealing yet in sync with her character’s financial condition. Mayur Sharma's production design is fine. Manan Ashwin Mehta's editing should have been smoother and the film should have been shorter.
On the whole, MADE IN CHINA lacks a good story and execution to make a mark. At the box office, it’ll have a tough time as it clashes with a biggie in the form of HOUSEFULL 4.